Number of songs?
It is acknowledged that he has sung a total of 26,000 songs, but researchers have found only 7,405 songs yet. How did the error came into effect: During a foreign music concert while introducing Mohammed Rafi, the anchroman declared that he had sung 26,000 songs and everybody just accepted it without much of fact checking. Unfortunately, even Rafi Sahab himself believed it to be true.
Apparently, nature also mourned Rafi’s death — Mumbai was soaked to the bones as heavens opened its doors to welcome that celestial voice. The film capital of India witnessed an unprecedentedly crowded funeral procession as people braved the rains to bid adieu to their favourite singer.
R.D. Burman was the catalyst for bringing about an end to Rafi’s domination in Bollywood music industry when he introduced Kishore Kumar who stole the hearts of the youth with romantic numbers like Mere Sapnom Ki Rani.
Even though there was a healthy completion among them, which always a point of discussion among music critics of that time, Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar were good friends. It was heartwrenching to see Kishore Kumar sitting next to the mortal remains of Mohammed Rafi sobbing for hours together.
Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar once challenged each other without their own knowledge. R.D. Burman was the one who behind this as well. For the movie Pyaar Ka Mausam (1969) he made both of them sing the beautiful song Tum Bin Javum Kahaan. The song needed to be sung by two different characters in the movie in different situations. Rafi’s voice was used for Sashi Kapoor’s character while Kishore Kumar’s was suited for Bharat Bhushan. The version sung by Rafi turned out to be more popular.
Rafi has also sung for Kishore Kumar. Rafi’s voice was used for the characters played by Kishore Kumar, who has proven his expertise as an actor too, in the movies Shararat (1956) and Ragini (1958).
The glory of singing in maximum number of languages by an Indian play back singer goes to Mohammed Rafi. With his charming voice, he has sung in 14 Indian languages and 4 foreign languages.
He has sung only 162 songs in other languages. All the remaining songs were in Hindi.
Researchers have found out that he has given his voice to 517 different characters in movies.
Rafi has also demonstrated his skills as an actor in the movies Laila Majnu and Jugnu. Both the movies were financially successful.
In E Mohabbat Zindabad song of Mugal-E-Azam, which was released in the year 1960 and sung by Rafi, featured the voices of 100 people as chorus.
Rafi sang most of his songs for music director duo Lakshmikant Pyarelal — he sang around 369 songs for them, out of which 186 were solo songs. The last song sung by Rafi was also for Lakshmikanr Pyarelal — Syam Phir Kyom Phir Udaas from the movie Aas Paas.
In the duet section, most of the songs sung with a female singer were partnered with Asha Bosle while majority of the male duet songs were with the famous singer Manma Dey.
Altering his voice, yodelling and whistling in between songs were the style of Kishore Kumar. Once Rafi also tried to adopt that style for the movie Reporter Raju ( 1962) — Rafi sung for the character of Firoz Khan.
Rafi’s song Jaan Pahchaan Ho from the movie Gumnaam (1965) was used in the Hollywood movie Ghost World released in the year 2001.
An interesting fact about Rafi is that he used to encourage other singers as well. He met Mehboob at a musical concert in Kochi and fascinated with his singing, Rafi invited Mehboob to Mumbai. But Mehboob was hesitant to leave the city, so he declined the offer.
Rafi never sang in Malayalam due to his difficulty in pronouncing the language. But the initiative of producer Abdul Khader, who was an ardent admirer of Rafi, made him sing the Hindi song Shabab Lekhe Voh in a Malayalam movie Thalirtta Kinaakkal released in the year 1980.The lyricist of the song was Ayish Kamal.
Jithin Shyam was the only Malayali who received a golden opportunity to compose music for a Rafi song.
The Malayali actors who got a chance to appear as a couple in the visuals of a song by Rafi were Kuthiravattom Pappu and Adoor Bhavani.
Remuneration was never a constraint for Rafi. He never sang after settling on an amount as remuneration and he never quit a song because of payment issues. In fact, he sang a song for music director Nisar Vasmi for which he received only Re1 as payment.
HMV has decided to release a collection of Mohammed Rafi’s sad songs. For this purpose they required a photo of Rafi with a gloomy face and they searched their whole library, which is in essence big in collection, but could not find a photo of Rafi in a sad mood. Finally they have to give up the idea and the collection was released with a smiling Rafi on the cover of the album.
Has the always smiling Rafi ever quarrelled with anyone? The answer is “yes” and it was with Lata Mangeshkar. They had a dispute over the royalty of songs in which Mangeshkar argued that the royalty of the songs should be shared with the singers as well while Rafi’s stand was that after receiving the payment for a particular song, the singers morally don’t have any right to claim the royalty. Both of them didn’t talk to each other or sang together for six years from then and later it was in S.D. Burman Music Night organised in Mumbai that they shared the stage and sang a duet together.
In a fine morning of 1960, the producer of the movie Kohinoor came to visit Rafi with a gift and some flowers .The producer was guilty that initially he refused to incorporate Rafi’s song in the movie but in reality the song has worked as the key factor for success of the movie. In response, Rafi accepted only the flowers and rejected the gift. He said that the public has already gifted him by accepting the song and that is the best gift he could get.
Born in Kotla Sultan Singh village of Amritsar on December 24, 1924, he started public singing at Lahore ,while he was only thirteen years old.
While he was a child, Rafi was affectionately called as ‘Feekko’ by his relatives and friends.
There was a fakeer (mendicant monk) in his village who was was also a singer. Young Rafi used to imitate this fakeer and those funny attempts were the early experiments of this great singer.
It was his brother’s friend Abdul Hameed who recognised the great talent hidden in young Feekko. Rafi started considering music seriously because of the encouragement of this friend.
He was a family man and a religious person. His most favourite hobby was kite running!!!
Rafi was kind and compassionate to his fellow beings. He has given an amount of 88,000 to charity just before his death.
He used to send a Money Order to a widow living in the neighbourhood. After Rafi’s death when the money stopped coming, the widow went and enquired in the post office. It was only then that she came know who the sender of the Money Order was!!
“All the singers, including me, have their own limitations. But if there is one who can sing anything then that is Mohammed Rafi,” these were the words of Manna Dey.
Lata Mankeshakar, who is generally reluctant to reveal her opinions in public, has expressed her feelings when Rafi passed away. She said: “Darkness has spread around us, the full moon has set.”
On July 31 1980, Rafi had a chest pain in the morning while he was rehearsing a Bengali ‘bhajan’ on Kaali mata. He died at 10.25pm on the same day.
Two days National holiday was declared by the Central Government to mourn Mohammed Rafi’s death.